There's not too long to go until the end of 2010 and I sense that many of you will be saying 'good riddance'? I'm sure it's not been all bad.
What's made you: happy, sad, angry, frustrated confused, smile, smirk; what's caused concern, created optimism, been a success or been a disaster.
Poor start to the year with the snow, and a poor end too, but the chunk in the middle has been good for me, workwise and even more importantly healthwise.
Been a good year, very enjoyable.
Had the odd day where nothing has gone right but i suppose we all get days like that.
Got to say though, found LJN a great source for me all year round, became a member early in the year and have learnt alot and hopefully offered the odd bit of decent info too.
Hopefully next year will be even better, got to get this bleak winter out the way first!!
Very good year for us, only spoiled by Anna breaking her foot in September, which meant very little work since then. But that's given us time to plan for 2011, which promises to be just as challenging as 2010.
Two steps forward, three sideways, a jump forward and a knock backwards, laughing and crawling to the finishing post as always. Painkillers and antibiotics, snow and ice, extra expenditure, increased overheads, and a few unforeseen problems.
So nothing new this year !. - Still offering a great garden service with a humorous touch.
And really thankful for all the good advice from LJN members throughout the year.
We have had a very very good year, the snow and the van breakdown were the low points of the year but this year we gained some clients with very large gardens who wanted a professional service year round, against the "how much are you per hour" brigade which has increased turnover by about 40% with no additional costs in machinery. These better clients meant that we could be more picky about who we did work for although we still did get a few clients who were never happy despite our best efforts but 98% were more than happy so I think that speaks volumes.
We were able to therefore make the lad who works for us a full timer and he is great as no sick time, fast worker etc and the wife now runs the admin side although I still try to take an interest. We became a limited business this year but untill we do the account next year we don't know how much that has saved.
The fun jobs this year have been the landscaping type of jobs, totally changing a garden taking it from an idea to the finished project and we might develop the business more down that route although the business environment next year might be interesting to say the least. Advertising the business this year has been its usual problem with not knowing what to go for with google ad-words being the best and Thompson the worst.
I think we are looking forward to next year in trying to grow the business in the larger garden market and maybe another member of staff, all in all 2010 not a bad year and looking forward to 2011!
The year for us was pretty much broken down into four parts.
January to March - searching for a new Nursery, a very difficult period.
March to June - Success!!! we found our new Nursery, and relocated from Surrey to Dorset.
June to August - The hard work began, planning and sourcing our stock range, of which perhaps 80% has been sourced from local Nurseries in the South West.
September to December - Potting, potting and more potting so we have plants ready for sale next year. Most of our stock is now fully rooted around in either a 5 or 10 litre, and pretty much saleable.
We spent much time through the Autumn planning our new South West Landscapers Centre. We have joined a group of Nurseries the currently supply over 100 Garden Centres, and we will be their outlet for Landscapers and Designers.
With our new setup, we have spoken with several LJN Members with a view to them having Trade Stands at our Nursery, a sort of year round Trade Show. The suppliers at our Nursery are there at our invitation, and for free. This sort of thing has not really been tried before, but we believe that the ethos of all working together. Even Phil has contributed, supplying us with some LJN stickers to put around the Nursery, so we can hopefully attract more in the Trade to join LJN. Thanks to all, and look forward to working with you.
Looking forward to February 2011 when we open properly, then the fun begins.
I think after a dire start in January and early Feb. 2010 has been a very good year for business. We've had a nice selection of quality projects and not one single customer that's been anything other than a pleasure to work for.
I have every expectation that 2011 will be better though, we currently have more work booked for the new year than we've ever had at this stage by a factor of three, ( at least ).
I think LJN has been a revelation as well, I wonder if some who have been members for longer still appreciate it as much.
Certainly the group of friends that I've linked to this year on LJN are very enthusiastic and supportive of it's ethos.
Here's to a great 2011, many more "meet ups", perhaps another charity fundraiser or two, ( Lands End ;-) ), and the mother of all meet ups in October !!
2010 has been a positive year for Landscape Juice with membership rising from about 500 last January to over 1600 to date.
New sponsorships have help the site, and changes to practices, methods and rhetoric outside of the site, indicates LJN is influencing some of the thought processes within our industry.
Looking ahead, 2011 will be different in the respect that I intend, personally, to take a less political route and instead choose to focus on the positive side of LJN membership and build upon the site and its success, to further help members with their businesses.
Look out for further news on sponsorship in early January 2011.
Here are my answers in order -
1. Happy - our best year so far T/O and profit wise.
2. Sad - we've lost three lovely old ladies this year who were great customers.
3. Angry - I don't do angry. It's not in my nature. Mrs H did get a bit stroppy with the blower though...couldn't start it...
4. Frustrated - turn around times from some of our parts suppliers, lack of stock and the effects it has on downtime. They need to up their game or they'll get dropped.
5. Confused - why do customers wanting immediate action always fail to take any regard of our business terms and try to pay when they want to...there's one.....I'll deal with it.
6. Smile and smirk - inspite of this supposed time of austerity our business is growing and more prosperous. I don't think that's down to luck but business planning and control, being proactive.
7. Concerns - continued success and it's repercussions, staffing, out sourcing labour, managing the progression.
8. Optimism - I'm extremely optimistic about where we are going and we are taking measures now to achieve better results in 2011 - 2016. Work in progress and another meeting on Monday to push it on a step further.
9. Success/disaster - I cannot think of any disasters ( odd machinery breakdown and a costly van repair...but thats normal). Great to have my family working with me throughout the year. That's helped significantly and has been a true success. To be continued in 2011.
Highs - converted to a social enterprise; great new contract; lovely new customers; got 2 new trainees....and birth of my grandson (a future partner in the business???)
Lows - snow....bah humbug!
2010 started well, but had a bit of a rough end. But that's life - full of highs and lows. Without the lows, you don't get the buzz of the highs. Like Gaynor, I don't know what 2011 will hold, but I do know they'll be new things to do, new people to meet, and new fun to be had, so bring it on! But I've still got the rest of 2010 to enjoy yet, with loads of food, presents and good times, so I'm going to make the most of that first. Starting with a couple of hours solo sledging this afternoon. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!